Easy Eats – Healthy Cod

Easy Eats - Healthy Cod Ingredients 1 lb cod fillets 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes 1/4 cup diced yellow onion 1 green pepper 1 red pepper (or yellow) 1 cup spinach (chopped) 1 pkg sliced mushrooms 2 TB garlic 1/4 cup olive oil 1/8 tsp salt


Saute olive oil and garlic for 5 minutes on low/med heat. Add chopped peppers and onion, cover and cook on low for about 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, canned tomatoes and spinach, stir and cover on low/med heat for 5 minutes. Add cod on top of all the vegetables, season and cover. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to low and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Cod is done when it is flakey and starts splitting apart. *season to taste


Lentil Nachos with Homemade Cheese Sauce

Hello, and Happy New Year! It's been a few weeks... I apologize for my absence. I moved my cupcake business (Sara's Sweets) out of my home and into a storefront on December 15, and it was quite crazy those first few weeks! No better time than the week before Christmas to open a bakery, right??! Well, after 3 weeks of eating nothing but PB sandwiches and frozen pizza (and cupcakes galore), and then all sorts of indulgences over Christmas, I was more than ready to get back in the kitchen this weekend to prepare some wholesome nutritious meals. My husband & I aren't ones to do extreme fad diets - we try to practice moderation, with the occasional indulgence. We try to make healthy choices when we can, and this nacho swap is a great option. Traditional ground beef is substituted with lentils & quinoa... when the nachos are topped with all the traditional toppings, it's hard to even notice a difference! Start off by preparing the lentils & quinoa. In a big pot, combine a large can of enchilada sauce and 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock to a boil. Add the lentils & quinoa, and let simmer about 45-60 minutes, until the lentils have softened and most of the moisture is absorbed. FullSizeRender (47) About 15 minutes before serving, make the cheese sauce. I have struggled with cheese sauces in the past, but have finally figured out the trick! Make sure the burner is on LOW, or completely off the heat when it's time to add the cheese. Add just a small handful at a time, and whisk until completely smooth after each addition. FullSizeRender (48) That's about it! Use your favorite additional nacho toppings to finish them off. We love to use fresh avocado and fresh cilantro... but it's really up to you! These are SO much better for you than restaurant or stadium nachos. The cheese sauce is made with real ingredients that you can actually pronounce - no preservatives! Best wishes for a healthy & happy 2016! FullSizeRender (49)

Lentil Nachos

Servings/Yield: 4-6 servings

  • For the lentils:
    • 1 cup uncooked lentils, rinsed
    • ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
    • 30-oz can enchilada sauce
    • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
    • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the cheese sauce:
    • ¼ cup unsalted butter
    • ¼ cup flour
    • cups milk
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • cups freshly grated cheese, (mix of monterey jack & pepper jack)
  • To assemble the nachos:
    • 1 bag tortilla chips
    • your favorite salsa
    • shredded lettuce
    • chopped avocado
    • chopped tomato
    • chopped cilantro


1. Bring the enchilada sauce and vegetable stock to a simmer in a large saucepan. Add lentils & quinoa; simmer 45-60 minutes until lentils are soft and have absorbed most of the liquid.

2. When the lentils are almost soft, start the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour; whisk to combine. Cook 2-3 minutes until it turns brown. Slowly whisk in the milk; cook, whisking constantly until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and add the freshly grated cheese one handful at a time. Whisk between each addition to melt the cheese. Add the salt and whisk until smooth.

3. To assemble nachos, pour nachos on a plate or platter. Top with lentil mixture, and drizzle with cheese sauce. Top with salsa, shredded lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro.

Source: adapted from Pinch of Yum

Roasted Veggie Chickpea Salad

It's that time of year... the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. My desire to eat salads is lessening by the day. My secret to eating vegetables in the winter months? Roast them! Roasted Veggie Chickpea Salad is a great way to pack in those vegetables without eating a bowl of 'rabbit' food. IMG_2575 Tomatoes, onion, and corn are roasted until tender and caramelized in the oven. The veggies are then combined with protein-packed chickpeas, feta cheese, fresh basil and a light balsamic dressing. I love how roasting really brings out the different flavors of the veggies, especially the sweetness of the tomatoes. IMG_2570 We loved this salad over a bed of spinach, scooped up with tortilla chips. It was also delicious wrapped up in a whole grain tortilla. Enjoy! IMG_2573

Roasted Veggie Chickpea Salad

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno , seeded & finely diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 small frozen corn, bag
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper , to taste
  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 package feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Place tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, corn, and basil on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to combine. Season with salt & pepper. Roast 25-30 minutes, until tender.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chickpeas, feta, and roasted vegetables. In a small bowl or jar, mix 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Whisk or shake to blend until smooth. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Add fresh basil and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Sweet ‘n’ Hot Asian Veggies

    Vegetables don't get too much attention in our house. Yes, we eat them, but they're often just an afterthought. Something we feel obligated to eat for the health benefits. Our most reliable veggie sides are simple salads, steamed broccoli, or pan-fried zucchini. I decided that we needed to up our game in the veggie department, so I picked out a new veggie to try - bok choy! I partnered it with some other classic vegetables used in Asian cuisine, and whipped up a little veggie medley with an Asian flair. It was such a nice change! Crisp tender vegetables are stir-fried and then coated in a zingy sauce with a bit of sweet 'n' hot flavor. IMG_2025 I used this Sweet 'n' Hot Pepper & Onion Relish to add a bit of flavor. Any sort of sweet or hot pepper jelly would work! (You only need 1/4 cup for the recipe... spread the remaining relish over cream cheese and use as a dip with crackers. So yummy.) IMG_2018  

Start by stir-frying the vegetables that take a little longer to cook - bok choy, broccoli, and leeks. Look at that steam!


Then, add the rest - mushrooms, carrots, and green onions. After a quick stir-fry, stir in the sauce mixture and let it thicken. Super tasty!


Sweet 'n' Hot Asian Veggies

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sweet 'n' hot onion & pepper relish
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 head bok choy, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped


1. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, onion & pepper relish, and cornstarch.

2. Heat the olive in a large skillet over high heat. Add the leek, broccoli, and bok choy; cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until barely tender. Add the green onions, mushrooms, and carrots; cook another 3-5 minutes until crisp tender.

3. Add the soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Once the sauce thickens, remove from heat and stir to coat the vegetables.

Source: adapted from American Spoon

Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Salad

Lately, I've been doing a bit of meal prep on the weekend to get us ready for the upcoming week. Whether that's washing and cutting vegetables, making a loaf of bread or muffins, or simply shredding the meat off a rotisserie chicken for quick sandwiches and salads for lunch, it makes life so much smoother during the week!

Once in awhile, I'll whip up a pasta salad or rice dish that's easy to grab and eat quickly for lunch, and this Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Salad is my new favorite! Quinoa is a high-protein gluten-free grain that is a great substitute for rice, couscous, or pasta.

IMG_1864 In this dish, it's combined with freshly grilled chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, Greek olives, and crumbled feta cheese. A pop of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil make it a complete meal in a bowl. My husband and I both loved this dish. It's so fresh, and the feta cheese adds just the right amount of tang. Our little 9-month-old James gobbled it right up, too!

It's pretty simple, too. The worst part is probably chopping all the vegetables. The veggies: tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and kalamata olives.


Once you've cooked up your quinoa and grilled the chicken, just mix it all together!


Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Salad

Servings/Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cucumber, finely diced
  • cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • For the chicken:
    • lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
    • oregano
    • garlic powder
    • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper
    • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil


1. To prepare the chicken, season liberally with oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Let marinate 30 minutes up to 4 hours.

2. Begin by rinsing quinoa in a fine mesh strainer with cold water. Place quinoa and chicken stock in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Cover, and reduce to a simmer; simmer 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit 5 minutes with the lid still on. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

3. While quinoa is simmering, prepare the grill or grill pan to medium high. Place marinated chicken and cook 5 minutes on each side, until chicken is tender. Remove to cool; then dice into small cubes.

4. In a large serving bowl, combine cooked quinoa, grilled chicken pieces, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, and olives. Stir to combine. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and feta cheese; stir again until combined. Serve warm, or prepare in advance to serve cold. Delicious with some pita bread and hummus on the side.

Source: adapted from SkinnyTaste 

Blueberry Muffin Smoothies

Every time I go grocery shopping at Chief, I have to very carefully weave my way from the produce section through the specialty cheese & wine section to get to the rest of the store. (Avoiding the bakery!) You'd think that since I am a baker by trade, that the Chief bakery wouldn't hold any temptations... but have you ever seen the giant rack of JUMBO muffins?! They are so irresistible! Moist and soft, and full of mix-ins. My favorite is the Blueberry or Lemon Poppyseed, and my hubby loves the Pistachio. (I can't get past the green color of that one...) IMG_0679 Anyway, we splurged this week and picked up a few packs to share with our Sunday School class at church... and unfortunately (fortunately?) we ended up with a 4-pack to take home. While I love these muffins, they probably aren't the best choice for my intentions to eat healthier. IMG_0681 Luckily this Blueberry Muffin Smoothie is a great choice! While I can't say it replicates those bakery-style muffins exactly, it surprisingly tastes like a blueberry muffin, and is very filling as well. With over 16 grams of protein and a serving of dairy and two servings of fruit, this smoothie is a great way to start your day. Frozen blueberries are combined with milk, Greek yogurt, banana, oats, and lemon zest and whizzed to a frosty perfection. IMG_0680 It's super easy to make - just plop all your ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth! Drink up! IMG_0683

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie 

Yield: 1 smoothie

  • ½ cup milk
  • 4-6oz container vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ¼ cup oats
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 5-6 ice cubes


Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until very smooth.

Source: from Iowa Girl Eats

Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

My husband and I have decided to start eating a bit healthier... we have been both lacking energy, and too often we turn to sugar for quick fuel. Which gives us energy for a short period, but then CRASH! We looked into doing the Whole 30 plan, but I'm not sure I can completely give up all grains, dairy, and sugar! So, our solution is simply this - incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods into our diet on a daily basis, and get rid of as much processed stuff as we can. I stumbled upon a recipe for Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos, and decided to give it a try. Sweet potato rounds are roasted until crispy, then topped with all your favorite nacho toppings. We kept it meatless, and went with black beans, cheese, avocado, green onions, and cilantro. IMG_0616 I'm not going to lie, I was pretty hesitant. We both figured we'd be looking for a bowl of cereal or a grilled cheese after this meal. But it was a hit! The sweet potatoes are seasoned with Mexican spices, and while they don't get as crispy as regular tortilla chips, they're pretty darn close! If you like sweet potato fries, you'll love this version of nachos. Start with your sweet potatoes. Slice them as thin as you can, and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Spread them into a single layer on a baking sheet or two. [caption id="attachment_4602" align="aligncenter" width="331"]Before roasting Before roasting[/caption] Roast them at 400*F for 20 minutes; then flip and roast an additional 10-15 minutes, until the potato rounds are crispy. [caption id="attachment_4603" align="aligncenter" width="310"]IMG_0614 After roasting[/caption] Top with the cheese and black beans, and roast another 5-7 minutes until the cheese melts. (Seasoned ground beef or pulled chicken would also be really good here.) [caption id="attachment_4604" align="aligncenter" width="288"]Lots of cheese please! Lots of cheese please![/caption] Top with green onions, cilantro, and avocado. Serve with salsa and sour cream! [caption id="attachment_4606" align="aligncenter" width="360"]IMG_0618 Salsa & sour cream[/caption]

Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

Yield: 2-3 main dish servings

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½-1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½-1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1½-2 cups freshly grated cheese, (cheddar, mozzarella, or monterey jack)
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 2-3 green onions, diced
  • ½ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • sour cream, for serving
  • salsa, for serving


1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and seasonings. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet (or two). Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Flip; roast an additional 10-15 minutes until crispy.

2. Combine all sweet potato rounds onto one baking sheet. Top with black beans and cheese; roast another 5-7 minutes until cheese melts.

3. Remove from oven, and top with avocado, green onions, and cilantro. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

 Source: adapted from Two Peas and their Pod


Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

The BIG GAME is this weekend, and that means it's time to get those slow cookers out! It seems like whenever we watch football with friends, there's always a whole slew of slow cookers lined up, each containing their own delicious food. Chili, queso, sloppy joes, spinach artichoke dip, the list goes on and on! IMG_9154 Today I've got a great recipe for your slow cooker - Shredded Buffalo Chicken! This chicken has all the flavor of classic buffalo wings, but without all the extra fat and calories from the breading and deep frying. It's tasty served on a bun, wrapped up in a tortilla, or served up as a crunchy lettuce wrap. It's really easy to prepare, too, and the leftovers reheat wonderfully. We've actually had it twice in the last 2 weeks! (The first time, we gobbled it up so quick that I never even took any pictures.) To get the chicken started, combine the following in your slow cooker: boneless skinless chicken breasts, a celery stalk, minced garlic, diced onion, and some chicken broth. Let it cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours; then, remove and shred. IMG_9076 Discard the celery and all but about 1/2 cup of the broth mixture. Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and add 1/2 cup of your favorite buffalo wing sauce. Mix to combine, and cook another 30-60 minutes on high to let the chicken soak up the hot sauce. IMG_8968 Enjoy on buns, or in lettuce wraps! Top the chicken with your favorite dressing (ranch or blue cheese), crumbled gorgonzola cheese, and shredded carrots. We liked this meal both ways, but I will admit that my husband preferred the sandwich buns. However, I really enjoyed the contrast of the crisp lettuce and the spicy chicken. The lettuce wraps are a great low-carb option!  

Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup Frank's Hot Buffalo Wing sauce
  • For serving
  • Bibb lettuce leafs or buns
  • crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • shredded carrots
  • ranch dressing


1. Place chicken in slow cooker along with celery stalk, garlic, onion, and chicken broth. Cover; and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

2. Remove chicken and shred. Discard celery and all but 1/2 cup chicken broth mixture. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and add 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce. Cook 30 minutes more on high.

 3. Serve in lettuce leaves or on buns, topped with gorgonzola, shredded carrots, and ranch dressing.

Source: adapted from skinnytaste.com

Black Bean & Roasted Tomato Salad

I often get in a dinner rut... especially when it comes to side dishes! All too often, I just prep the main course, and do a simple green salad on the side, or steamed broccoli. (Not that there's anything wrong with those vegetables, but a girl can only eat so much salad! It starts to get old.) While it's super easy to open a bag of tater tots or chips (and my hubby sure won't complain), I also try to keep our dinners on the healthier side. IMG_9092 Enter: Black Bean & Roasted Tomato Salad. This is a great protein-packed veggie side that's not your usual salad! Tender black beans are combined with sweet roasted tomatoes, green onions, and a citrusy dressing. A sprinkle of feta cheese adds a little extra zing. It tastes great cold or at room temperature, so it's easy to make a big batch and eat from it all week long. The hardest part is roasting the tomatoes. Combine about 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes in a baking dish, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar, and roast at 350*F for 40 minutes. I used half yellow and half red tomatoes to add a little extra color. IMG_9088 After the tomatoes are roasted, it's just a matter of mixing everything together! Black beans, green onions, lemon zest & juice, and the tomatoes. Toss it all together, and top with feta cheese upon serving. IMG_9090 We enjoyed this as a simple side dish, and I also enjoyed the leftovers over spinach the next day for lunch. I'm also planning a burrito-style wrap with the last of it!


Black Bean & Roasted Tomato Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 14-oz cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • juice & zest from 1 lemon
  • 2-3 green onions, diced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese


1. To roast the tomatoes, place them in a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkles with salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast at 350*F for 40 minutes, tossing a few times throughout.

2. To make the salad, combine black beans with roasted tomatoes, lemon zest & juice, and green onions. Serve topped with feta cheese.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Roasted Vegetable Medley

The next few blog posts will be devoted to the Thanksgiving (aka a foodie's DREAM holiday!) I don't know about you, but the turkey is not my favorite thing on Thanksgiving. In fact, I think there have even even been a few years when the turkey doesn't even make it onto my plate! I am all about the side dishes and desserts. IMG_5312   When you think of a green vegetable side dish, the most common culprit is probably the green bean casserole. While it's good, I thought I'd try something new with a Roasted Vegetable Medley that incorporates many of my favorite green vegetables. Roasting vegetables really brings out their flavor and a little bit of sweetness. These veggies are tossed in a lemon-olive oil-parmesan coating when they are finished, and they are delicious! The recipes states that it serves 12, but my husband and I definitely ate more than our fair share! Start out by prepping your veggies - broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, and onion. You could omit any of these if you don't care for them, or add your favorite that's not included. Toss them with a bit of olive oil and spread onto a couple baking sheets.  


  Roast at 425*F about 25-30 minutes, until tender and just a bit crispy.


While they are roasting, mix up the olive oil coating - just a mix of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.  


  When the veggies are done, add them to a serving bowl and stir in the olive oil coating. Such an easy dish, and so tasty!   IMG_5312 P.S. Leftover roasted veggies make excellent salad toppings! ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Servings/Yield: 10-12 servings
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, halved
  • 16 fresh brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Method Preheat oven to 425*F. Combine all veggies with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl; toss to coat. Divide between two 15x-10-inch pans. Roast 25-30 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil with Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt, and pepper. When vegetables are done, toss with oil mixture in serving bowl. Serve warm. Source: adapted from Taste of Home November 2013